I value privacy of a person very much, but art is very much about revealing one's thoughts and feelings. As a result, every art piece that I make includes some elements that are not very explicit at first sight so that only the people who try to understand my art can find out the hidden meanings. For my Independent Studies in Computer Science with Professor Mustafaraj, I decided to apply this characteristic found in my art and create a program that tells a story but in a secretive and silent way.
My Python program basically reads in an image (either in RGB or Grayscale), reads in a text file, and replaces 14x14 pixel squares in the image with a pre-drawn images of alphabet letters. As a result, the below image is created. (17 by 37 inches) From a distance, the viewer can only see an image of Steve Jobs, but up at close, (s)he can read his biography. It is only those who take a close look at it can truly learn what the piece is about.
The reason for choosing Steve Jobs:
As I was a big fan of 3D animated films at the time of making this piece and since Pixar Animation Studios created the first full-length 3D animated film (Toy Story) with a lot of help from Steve Jobs, I had a great admiration for him. Therefore, I decided to make a piece on him with an image of him and his Wikipedia biography. See the work in Gallery page.
I myself used the program to write to my sister and she exclaimed that the experience of "reading one's own face" was quite extraordinary and new. She also liked the secretive and personal aspect of it.
I then wanted to use customized shapes or design for each of the 14x14 pixel images. I had a number of concentric rectangles in different sizes for the image below. I am going to make it into a customizable environment where the user can directly draw shapes or patterns in the program and create the image of their own, so that is it much morepersonal and meaningful.
Close-up Image from left top corner
Future Work In Plan
Initially, I envisioned this program to be another way people could write a personal letter to one another. I actually wrote one to my beloved advisor using the program with an image of her face, and she said that it was a new experience in that she was "reading her face." I am going to implement the program on the Web so that people can download and write letters to one another.
I am also going to implement it with customizable shape environment so that the users can draw their own shapes and alphabet characters with their own handwriting for the 14x14 pixel squares.
Close-up Image from the center
Webpage designed by Hye Soo Yang
Hye Soo Yang, Professor Bove
From the course, Fundamentals of Computational Design, I learned about different modern art styles and how art and technology can come together to create interesting designs. More inspiring than the famous modern artists were my classmates who brought cool technology based art pieces to every visual exercise presentations. One of the classmates made a pointillism drawing of his iphone, which inspired me to do my final project piece in the style of pointillism.
I wondered how 3-D pointillism would look like. With my favorite 3-D modeling software, Autodesk Maya, I decided to test it myself. I wrote a Python program that uses MEL (Maya Embedded Language) to give commands to Maya interface. It reads in an RGB image and creates small spheres in space according to their pixel position (x,y axis) and color value (z axis). I based my piece on a well-known pointillism painting titled Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Seurat. I used a 700x500 image, which means that there are 350,000 spheres in the scene. I divided the image into three layers by each pixel's RGB color values.
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